The judges allowed plaintiffs in two federal lawsuits to file briefs in opposition to the Stumbo motions which were due by 5 p.m. Tuesday. It’s not known when the court may rule on the motions.
But Senate President Robert Stivers Tuesday disagreed with Stumbo’s position, saying once the new districts become law those are the lines under which special elections should be conducted.
“You’re elected to the number (of the district) and the number attaches to the geographical district,” Stivers said. “So as soon as this map becomes final, and the governor signs it, then that’s your new district. That is the district of the number.”
Stivers also said he saw no difficulty in securing the required 20 votes in the Senate to pass an emergency clause.
Earlier Tuesday, Stivers took to the floor to defend the Senate map which includes one district – the 4th which stretches along the Ohio River from Henderson to Livingston County – outside population ranges prescribed by previous court rulings.
Those rulings have said districts should not vary from the ideal population size by more than plus or minus 5 percent.
But Stivers said maps can go outside the deviation range if legislators are trying to pursue other “legitimate state interests.” The Kentucky Constitution requires such maps split the minimum number of counties without breaking up natural political divisions.
Stivers said the 4th District is 6.5 percent below the ideal size so it doesn’t diminish any votes while the plan legitimately tries to preserve “core districts, respect county lines and not supplant the will of the people by placing incumbents together.”
Quoting the judges’ Friday ruling, Stivers said the proposed Senate map is “free from the taint of arbitrariness and discrimination.”
“This is a map that is fair and correct in the eyes of the law, and I believe the courts will agree with what we do,” Stivers said.